Flock Day Two: Everything is a Container! (Kinda)

Day two at Flock was, once again, a pretty container-riffic experience, at least if that’s what you were interested in. The day kicked off with Dan Walsh giving an overview of new container technologies and a roadmap for things like the cri-o project. (Look here for a longer post on cri-o and such shortly.)

Dan’s talk was excellent all-around, but he had one piece of perspective I plan to use going forward: Everything running on Linux is in a “container,” even if it’s in a “host” container. What this means is that, really, all processes use the same technologies that help make up “containers” — e.g., cgroups, SELinux, namespaces, etc. What container runtimes do is to set up more restrictive containers that have a different view of the system than unconstrained processes. (For certain values of ‘unconstrained.”)

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Flock Day One: All Containers, All the Time

This year, Fedora’s Flock conference is being held in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, following the tick/tock cadence of North America/Europe. Last year, I was helping to organize the conference (in Prague), and this year I get to turn up and enjoy the event while other folks (like Brian Exelbierd, Jen Madriaga, and many others) wrangle the event. Spoiler alert: it’s a lot more fun attending than running a conference.

Day one kicked off with Matthew Miller (Fedora Project Leader, for those folks not heavily involved in the Fedora Project) giving a “State of Fedora” overview. I’ll probably write more about this later, but the tl;dr – things are good, as far as uptake of Fedora. But they could be better. Fedora 25 and 26 have seen great uptake, people seem to be liking the latest releases, and they’re getting good reviews. Continue reading

Communication Anti-Patterns

Let’s get this out of the way: Yes, I’m old and grumpy. I have more than a few “get off my lawn!” moments. But sometimes… sometimes, they’re justified. Especially when confronted with some of the common communication anti-patterns I run into day after day when working with distributed communities/workers. Here’s a few things you shouldn’t do, or stop doing if you do them.

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Project Fi and replacement phones: Android could learn from Fedora…

nexus2cee_project_fi_hero_thumbI’ve had really good luck with smartphones (/me knocks on wood) over the years. I’ve dropped phones a number of times, but other than a few scuffs and scratches, no permanent damage. (My first-generation iPhone did have an unfortunate encounter with a softball years ago, but since then – smooth sailing.) This weekend, though, I biffed the Nexus 6 just wrong on the tile floor and the screen got the worst of it.
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Running for Fedora Council

fedora-ambassador-mentor Fedora elections are upon us once again, starting tomorrow. There’s one Fedora Council seat open, and I’ve decided to throw my, er, hat into the ring. I’ve put up the platform questions on the Fedora Community Blog, but also wanted to chime in here.

I’m not stumping for votes, but I did want to take a minute to encourage folks to participate in this election and think about how you’ll participate in the next release cycle. Whether you vote for me or the other candidate for Council (that’d be Robert Mayr aka robyduck – who is awesome) I hope you’ll also be thinking about how you might contribute a few extra cycles to the Fedora 24 release and the project in general.

In particular, for the Fedora 24 cycle I hope to see more folks helping in the marketing group (as I’ve mentioned before), and we can use more hands in the Cloud SIG as well. We have a lot of opportunity ahead, but we need many more hands to reach our full potential.

Proprietary tools for FOSS projects

slackMy position on free and open source software is somewhere in the spectrum between hard-core FSF/GNU position on Free Software, and the corporate open source pragmatism that looks at open source as being great for some things but really not a goal in and of itself. I don’t eschew all proprietary software, and I’m not going to knock people for using tools and devices that fit their needs rather than sticking only to FOSS.

At the same time, I think it’s important that we trend towards everything being open, and I find myself troubled by the increasing acceptance of proprietary tools and services by FOSS developers/projects. It shouldn’t be the end of the world for a FOSS developer, advocate, project, or company to use proprietary tools if necessary. Sometimes the FOSS tools aren’t a good fit, and the need for something right now overrides the luxury of choosing a tool just based on licensing preference. And, of course, there’s a big difference between having that discussion for a project like Fedora, or an Apache podling/TLP, or a company that works with open source.

Fedora is generally averse to adopting anything proprietary, even using things like YouTube or Twitter to promote Fedora tends to generate discussion and questions about whether it’s proper to use proprietary services. Grudgingly, though, most folks have accepted that to promote Fedora you have to go where the people are–even if that means using non-FOSS services. Apache has been more willing to adopt non-free services (e.g., Jira) where acceptable FOSS services exist. Not surprising, because Apache’s culture is more “use open source because it’s pragmatic” rather than driven by ideology. (That is painting with a very broad brush, and I think you can find a diverse set of opinions within Apache, including mine.)

Generally, though, I worry about making too many concessions to non-free software. I worry that we’ve gone too far towards business concerns, and too far away from wanting to change the world for the better. There’s a balance to be struck, I think, where we put food on the table, build successful companies and successful and sustainable communities. Where we use tools we’ve built to do our work, and tools we can improve, but don’t rake people over the coals because of the tools they choose or make bad business decisions out of a desire for purity.

This post asking people not to use Slack really resonates with me. I see this as a wholly unnecessary adoption of proprietary software where there’s a reasonable and serviceable alternative. The good news, I think, is that Slack seems to be spurring some development of better IRC alternatives that might not have developed without Slack. And it’s spurred more people thinking about the tools they use, and whether they’re open, and what that means. Full disclosure, I have a personal Slack account. I’ll use it to chat with friends, just like I’ll use Facebook or Google Hangouts. But I don’t see recommending it for an official channel for, say, Project Atomic.

Marketing is not a spectator sport…

fmag-ribbonA piece over on Fedora Magazine, following a talk I did at Flock this summer. The short version: open source projects need all the help they can get spreading the word. Fedora, Apache projects, GNU projects, Debian, etc., all depend on word of mouth to reach users. By reaching users, we find new contributors, and it’s the new contributors that help keep projects going and reaching new users. We don’t have megabucks to throw at ad campaigns, but we have millions of users–and the impact would be enormous if even 10% of those users spent a little time spreading the word about Fedora (or other project).

More users means more contributors. More contributors equals better projects. Better projects mean more users, and fewer people choosing proprietary solutions. Don’t wait for somebody else to spread the word, jump in and lend a hand.

The marketing group was a bit disorganized in the F23 cycle, and we can do much better. I hope to do more in the F24 cycle, but I can’t do it alone, and don’t really want to! So if you want to see Fedora succeed wildly, I hope you’ll find a way to join our efforts. Read the full piece on Fedora Magazine, and feel free to ask if you need help jumping in!